Chinese v American U-Students - Round 1: Half a century ago

Posted On: Wednesday - January 25th 2023 3:35PM MST
In Topics: 
  Commies  University  China  Americans  ctrl-left

This post was in the back of my mind since the writing of The Chinese people fight Covid~Zero and the Totalitarianism of Xi on the anti-Covid~Zero protests in China back in November that caused the mighty CCP to "STEP OFF!" Brave Chinese university students were a big part of this, as they were part of the big anti-CCP protests in Tiananmen Square (and elsewhere) way back in June of 1989.* Yes, I mean "brave" both times, as the CCP doesn't mess around. Even if it's not being taken away to not be seen again by one's family, the CCP/Government of China can ruin one's future easily enough**.

What have American university students been fighting against these days? I'd say "absolutely nuthin', huhhh, say it again..." What I'd like to do here is compare the student activism in these 2 far apart countries during 2 eras far apart in time, 6,000 miles and 50 years, respectively.*** As usual, Peak Stupidity won't give a long list of examples with stats from somewhere. We'll just compare the general situation in both times and places.

We all know about the crazy 1960s in America, with lots of the turmoil going on at the universities. However, most Americans even today, but more so in the 1960s, didn't know what crazy stuff was going on in China during roughly this same time frame. There was no Tik-Tok, Instagram, and Telegram, or course. Never mind calling California, international phone calls cost serious MONEY, and then, how many people in China had a telephone? With icy relations between our 2 countries from the start of Communism there in 1949 till Nixon's visit in '70, even the newsmen didn't know very much about that big dark hole known as Red China.

Well, it WAS a hole, as Communism had done a number on the Chinese population, with the worst of it being that "Great Leap Forward" of '58 to ''61 (causing the starvation deaths of 30 million). Number 2 in the list of big idiocies there was the Cultural Revolution, not very long after that "Leap Forward", only about 5 years, come to think of it. It lasted for a whole decade.

The American years of extreme ctrl-left stupidity were arguably from '64 through '71, though some may pin it down as ending a year or two earlier. In China, the stupidity lasted from '66 through '76, the year Mao Tse Tong graciously died. It's funny to ponder that hardly a one Chinamen could have imagined the drug-taking, rock-and-roll playing, protesting, university-administration-building-inhabiting, hitchhiking, and bell-bottom wearing of the students in that manufacturing economic powerhouse and biggest military power in the world going on at this time. Likewise, Americans at the time knew that "people were starving in China (so eat your vegetables!)", but could not have imagined the crazy Big-Character-poster-writing, pig-blood-pouring****, parent-harrasing, Manchurian pig-farm-exciling, Little-Red-Book™-perusing in the huge mass of poverty-"stricken" humanity that was Red China going on at this time.

It's all fun and games ...

After that digression of sorts, let me mention Chinese university students of that half-century ago era first. Well, that's if one call call them "students". At that time, once Mao and his Commie gang got the young population riled up about the "Capitalist Roaders" and other enemies of what should have been should have great Communist utopia, except for those meddling Roaders, there was no longer much studying going on. University students were sucked into the MOS (Maelstrom Of Stupidity, and, compared to trying to study, it became a better use of one's time to rail against the enemies of Communism, quote the passages from the Chairman's Little Red Book, and rat out and implicate those that needed a good implicating. Intellectuals were sent to do "the people's work" and learn a thing or two about life. (That sounds tempting, though, doesn't it? More on this...)

From what I've read, about a decade ago in about a dozen books on the Cultural Revolution, this was a lost decade as far as higher learning went. You weren't likely go get away from the fun staying holed up in your organic chemistry lab. All intellectuals and even ACTUAL smart people were bad, as Chairman Mao thought about it. They had been the ones flushed out in the '58 "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom" program (and sequel "Then, Mow them Down") Perhaps some of them, the ones not killed or ruined last time, spoke and wrote about how Chinese Communism wasn't all that great.

... until someone gets hurt.

Some of those Chinese university students, before the Cultural Revolution put the kibosh on studying and intellectualism, would have been called "Liberals". However, that would have been in the sense of "Classical Liberal", as in, Libertarian. They wanted to be able to speak out against the worst of the stupidity of Communism, though I guess coming out against Communism itself was out of the question. The hard-line Maoists were as actual left-wing as one could be. (We call it the "ctrl-left" here, to jibe with the term "alt-right" on the keyboards.)

Now, some would say that the American universities were full of Liberals at the time too. However, that was NOT really in the classical sense, though there was pretension about this. After all, if they get you off the charges of occupying buildings and setting off pipe bombs, those Constitutional rights can be a pretty cool hand. No, they had some legitimate beefs, such as about the Vietnam War, but in general, the protesting and rebelling American university students of a half century back were the ctrl-left, starting the Long March through the Institutions here, while the Long March in China was bearing its bitter fruit 20-30 years after completion (depending on whether you mean the actual march - ending in '35 - or the official beginning of Red China in '49).

Pretty conservative looking at the beginning...

While the actual Liberals in China back then were being sent to pig farms and such under the heavy hand of the Chinese Gov't/CCP, the American so-called Liberals had it easy. They were a massive cohort of young people. Though the Baby Boom peaked in the late '50s, the great number of births from 1946 on meant that the later '60s especially had tremendous numbers of young people in college (withy extras compared to normal to avoid the draft too) Being18 to 22 y/o in the late 1960s meant being born from '46 to '51. Society bowed down to this crowd. Sure, the Institutions were Conservative still - even the Universities were until the end of this period. However, Conservatives gave the ctrl-left the benefit of the doubt and respected those Constitutional rights that the ctrl-left availed themselves of... until nowadays when that document is no longer are of use to them.

...then, they all turned into hippies and Communists.

In Round 1, we see that Chinese university students were basically forced under Communism to join up in a decade long bout of extreme stupidity that in many ways resembles the situation in American universities today. (That is, except for that the Americans join up more willingly.) During that same time, the American university students instigated their part in the Long March to turn American Institutions Communist.

The university students didn't have much choice to resist getting caught up in the craziness half a century ago. In a poor-ass country like 1960's-'70s China, you did what you had to do. It sucked for everyone. Those in those crazy times at American universities DID have a choice to stay Conservative or at least study and get through it all. Yet, on the whole, the students assisted the Long March through this one important Institution, paving the way for Round 2 here.

Round 1 goes to the Chinese students.

One might be tempted, as I wrote above, to understand Chairman Mao's (and later Pol Pot's) wish to be rid of those pesky intellectuals. However, we don't do it that way here, as much as I see his point more as applied to today's American university students. That will segue us into Part 2: American versus Chinese university students in the modern era. Really, that was supposed to be THE post, but I got carried away in the past.

* Peak Stupidity had 3 posts on the 30th anniversary of the events - Freedom in China? On the Tiananmen Massacre 30 years ago. - - Freedom in China, Tiananmen Square, and Freedom in America, and Tiananmen Square and the American Press.

** The one personal account I know is of a promising Electrical Engineering student who supported the Tiananmen Square protests, but only through words and writing, not actively on the streets of Peking. (He was at a university in a far-away province.) He was kicked out of college and not let to re-apply elsewhere. He was a TV repairman down in Canton, last I heard. (And no, he doesn't repair classic Camaroes, sorry.)

*** That 6,000 miles is the great circle route distance from Berkeley, California to Peking China, probably the epicenters of activism. If one takes Columbia Univ. in NY City as one end, it's only 800 miles longer of a distance. (The route from NYC to Peking goes nearly over the North Pole.)

**** The movie Carrie did come out in '76, the last year of the Chinese Cult-Rev, but that was more about hot prom chicks than Capitalist Roaders.

Adam Smith
Sunday - January 29th 2023 7:24AM MST
PS: Happy Sunday, y'all...

(“Brought to you by Remitly*, a financial services provider for immigrants...”)

Thanks for the interesting link, Mr. Alarmist. Was this a multiple choice questioner? Why did so many countries choose (mostly) the same few dream jobs? (Writers, influencers and youtubers?)

I'm a bit surprised that no one wants to be a doctor, astronaut, surgeon, president, artist, cannabis farmer, lego sculptor, island caretaker, movie star, rock star, rapper, shark tank cleaner, underwater welder, chocolate consultant, beer taster, chef, airplane repo-man**, ethical hacker, veterinarian, dentist, anesthesiologist, cardiologist...

I would think a lucrative career as a dieversity sinecure*** would be a desirable dream job for some here in clown world.(?)

* Remitly is an online remittance service based in Seattle that offers international money transfers to over 135 countries. It was founded in 2011 by Matthew Oppenheimer, Josh Hug, and Shivaas Gulati and became publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange in September 2021.

** Aircraft repossessors can get a 6% to 10% commission of the resale price of a plane they get back for a bank. For planes costing millions of dollars, that could add up to £600,000 per plane.

*** Michelle Obama made $316,962 as a dieversity consultant for the University of Chicago Medical Center in 2005. This was nearly twice what her husband made as a senator!

Saturday - January 28th 2023 10:54PM MST

Alarmist thanks for putting me onto that map of dream jobs in different countries. For China, “dietitian” resonated with me. That’s because according to my information, the most desirable potential enlistee who can walk into a US Coast Guard recruiting station is someone with a culinary degree. All of the US military branches have been having recruiting problems. They take a lesson from the above.
Dieter Kief
Saturday - January 28th 2023 12:08AM MST
This poll looks a bit weak.
From the German perspective, I have to say: Bogus. No other German poll with that result - ever. China looks more like a satirical approach too. - As do the "writers" on the Balkans and in Turkye, hehe. - - -
Friday - January 27th 2023 7:27PM MST
PS: Thanks for the link to that map, Alarmist. That was quite interesting, with a type of poll question I'd have never though of.
The Alarmist
Friday - January 27th 2023 4:32AM MST

Oddly enough, the research suggest Chinese want to be Dieticians.

What is truly fascinating is that the dream job of many Spanish speaking peoples, including Spaniards themselves, is Influencer ... Mamacita!

Scroll down the article for regional closeups.
Dieter Kief
Friday - January 27th 2023 4:02AM MST
Alarmist: Nobody studies this ancient Swabian idealist philosophy stuff like the Asians do. I'm friends with one: She left her - quite well off... - asian family - angering them a lot - to live (!) and study in the Germany from which this idealsit tradition - emanated. She is still around.She loves Plato too...(she learned Greek to be able to study him - and is fluent in German and Latin of course...)

One of the most impressive experiences of my life was to sit next to super-thin, very poorly but cleanly clothed Chinese students in the Seminar/ class in Heidelberg or in Konstanz, studying those idealist super cracks. Dictionaries that were higher than wide - read to annihilation almost - - - in constant (!) use... - they had trouble asking you for their way in town...I have often thought about these scenes.I still do. And I did not exaggrate: There are now tens of thousands of chines students, bowing their heads over these texts.
O course: Karl Marx admired (and critizised...) Hegel - - -but that is not even 1/100th of what moves them. - And moved they are. You have to be. Otherwise you'd think it was some sort of mental torture to read these old, at times cryptic, at times perfect... texts...
The Alarmist
Friday - January 27th 2023 1:55AM MST

I saw a map yesterday purporting to show the dream jobs of people in various countries. While most of the Anglosphere wanted to be pilots, the Germans want to be professors.
Dieter Kief
Friday - January 27th 2023 1:52AM MST
aha - oho: Dr. Frew below is a - Freudian slip - - - so it's Dr. Freud, of course, standing an the shoulders of the Swabian pietistly (= Swabian protestantly) rooted philosophers Hegel & - Schelling esp. (Schelling spoke of the - - - -unconscious and of the fact that we - our thoughts - - have bodies, and how that makes them special, but also a bit - uncalculable at times..which turned out to be just perfectly right...
Dieter Kief
Friday - January 27th 2023 1:45AM MST

Coffee Poem Poem Pub - anytime Adam - nothing wrong here afaIct, hehe.

'cept for that: There are parallels running between US, hehe - and them..., right Mod.

But then I hope that at least some of them - meet in infinity*...

*Make that happen, oh Lord of the geometrically perfect - - -rings*****, if ya please. Amen.

*****a trope of educated medieval monks: God is like a circle, just more so.
I once wrote a paper about one of those Dominican/Franziscan guys and - did write about Jap. Zen there too and about Zen and Lau Dse and Dschuang Dse and some other Chinese thinkers/ poets/writers. - See: The damn things hang all together, as- once... -  famous philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Knight of Schelling once wrote, who's birthday (*1775) some happy few celebrate: Today - hey! One more circle, heheh! - He shared a room once with Hegel - - -  
atthe Tübingen protestant elite school The Stift...
Accidentally I came across Schellings' (once - - ) famous Freiheitsschrift (On Human Freedom) just the other day!

Back to china for a moment: There are thousands of chinese studying this book by schelling as of now - and hundreds of thousands studying George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel...Which is  - seen from - - - a few centuries back, so unlikely that you'd then have betted all you had and then some that something like this would never ever happen...

(I remember when I mentioned one of the two guys at a sailer comment at the beginning of my career there, hehe, that you could count on the following to happen: somebody would appear declaring me being a bit out of time - curious imbecile, who doesn't get what's up and where it's at etc. pp. Happened even more so with Dr. Frew, who btw. stands on the shoulders of both, Hegel & Schelling. But - miracles over miracles - that - öh: attitude towards me got rare over time. - : - These are the days of miracles & wonder - this is a long distance mail! 
Steiner Laughs
Thursday - January 26th 2023 3:28PM MST
PS Carrie has been redone a few times for the dumbed doped generation of burn it all down dullards and I think it's supposed to be a comedy?
At least I had gut busting laughs over them as family watches that sewer pipe of mediocrity known as Netflix.
There are local elementary school students who can see right through the stale third rate commie agitprop done by the ones that we have been waiting for to build the glorious Benetton world shopping bazaar workers utopia.
This gave me some hope for a few seconds which is dangerous.
The Alarmist
Thursday - January 26th 2023 8:04AM MST

OTOH, let’s not underestimate the Big Guy’s ability to eff things up. He’ll start a shooting war with the Russkies and Chicoms, then find he needs to draft an army to fight them, and Gen Z will refuse to show up.

I can’t wait to see that shit show.
Thursday - January 26th 2023 7:34AM MST
My contention BTW is that the CCP has not replaced the Emperor system, just renamed some things.
Thursday - January 26th 2023 7:33AM MST
'However, that's the same Chinese thinking - just get a different guy - no thoughts about "maybe there shouldn't be a government or CCP that gives so much power to any one man".'

The problem is that Tian Xia (All Under Heaven) has been ruled by an emperor with the Mandate From Heaven for time out of mind. He rules more or less absolutely (minus whatever the bureaucracy can claw away - sound familiar?) until people judge he's lost that Mandate - which can be judged by his being replaced.

They have not had an alternative system - the closest is when you have contenders for the throne, which doesn't really count (e.g. Warring States era).
You would need something like the American revolutionaries to actually have a chance of making an alternative stick, but that requires the entire culture to be quite different from what it is now.

The problem is that this is a fairly common practice in human societies, and our system looks to be drifting that way. Europe was different because the 'barbarians beyond the walls' (different kingdoms) were much closer than in China (different geography had a lot to do with that I think) and so it never got to that point.
Thursday - January 26th 2023 6:12AM MST
PS: Good morning, Adam Smith and Yuri and the Bezmenovs! Hey, is that the name of your combo, errr, band?

Forward, Comrades of Stupidity!
Thursday - January 26th 2023 6:10AM MST
PS: Yeah, Alarmist, there was a lot of struggling among the would-be leaders too. I made it sound like Mao was in complete control the whole time, but there is a lot to the story. Deng was indeed one of the saner heads, and even after Mao died, it took a few years, 3 or 4, as I recall, to squash the "Gang of 4" (which included Mao's last ex-wife/widow, and a story about some movie star she wanted to get back at due to jealousy).

Then Deng had control, and his economic liberalization changed everything in not too long a time. However, that's the same Chinese thinking - just get a different guy - no thoughts about "maybe there shouldn't be a government or CCP that gives so much power to any one man".

Part of the appeal of the Cultural Revolution was the ability to get back at people, same as in the East Bloc/USSR, etc. Mao did this at a high level by starting the whole thing up, as you wrote.

Nothing says the same can't happen, or ISN'T happening, here. "We still have two years for Zhou Bai Den’s handlers to whip up the students into action. Don’t count them out until the Big Guy is interred in his final resting place.". Yep, it's been in motion already. There's just one last resort we have here - Thank you, Founders!
Adam Smith
Wednesday - January 25th 2023 8:55PM MST
PS: With warmth and understanding at this time of friendship that is yours for all the tomorrows. Happy Everyday, Everybody!

Yuri and the Bezmenovs
Wednesday - January 25th 2023 7:33PM MST
PS The KGB woke mind viruses will destroy the west.
The hammer and sickle means labor and unique snowflakes with bent prong forks or the work shy will line up against the wall in the spirit of egalitarian equity.
At least everyone will be equal.
Forward! Yes we can.
The Alarmist
Wednesday - January 25th 2023 4:02PM MST

Having led China into the Great Leap Forward, Mao was early on displaced by saner party heads, including Deng Xiopeng, and left to be little more than a figurehead. This did not sit well with Mao, and it was his status as a great leader that allowed him to steer the students into unleashing the cultural revolution that exacted a degree of revenge for the insult to Mao.

We still have two years for Zhou Bai Den’s handlers to whip up the students into action. Don’t count them out until the Big Guy is interred in his final resting place.
WHAT SAY YOU? : (PLEASE NOTE: You must type capital PS as the 1st TWO characters in your comment body - for spam avoidance - or the comment will be lost!)